Sep 09, 2008

Abkhazia: Russian Troops to Pull Out of Georgia in One Month

Active ImageMedvedev agrees to withdraw forces and will remove checkpoints if Georgia refrains from using force in Abkhazia.    

Below is an article published by Radio Free Europe:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russian forces would be withdrawn from Georgia proper within one month.

Speaking after talks on September 8 [2008] with an EU delegation led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Medvedev also said that a team of 200 EU monitors will be deployed to South Ossetia no later than October 1 [2008].

Medvedev said Russia would pull out troops from Georgia after the deployment of the EU monitors.

"The withdrawal of all Russian peacekeeping forces from five surveillance posts on the line from Poti to Senaki [will take place] within seven days at the most, taking into consideration the signing on September 8, 2008, of legally binding documents guaranteeing that force will not be used against Abkhazia," Medvedev said.

International Talks

The Russian president also said that international talks on the […] Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will take place in Geneva on October 15 [2008].

He said the talks would focus on "ways of ensuring security and stability in the region; the issue of refugees and displaced persons, based on internationally accepted principles and post conflict settlement practice, and any other issue that is proposed for discussion by mutual consent of the parties."

Speaking at a news conference with Medvedev, Sarkozy said Russia had agreed to remove checkpoints around Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti within one week, but only if Georgia signs a pledge to not use force against Abkhazia.

"I myself handed to President Medvedev a letter from President Saakashvili committing to the non-use of force in Abkhazia. The same commitment for [South] Ossetia is covered by the August 12 accord," Sarkozy said.

Medvedev also said that Russia would pull out from buffer zones around South Ossetia if an international force is in place, and there was a guarantee that Georgia would refrain from using force in the region. It was not immediately clear what Medvedev meant by "international force."

The Russian president was critical of Georgia and the United States for their roles in the crisis, saying that the United States was rearming Georgia under the cover of delivering humanitarian aid.